On My Mind

-thoughts of a wife, mom, author, illustrator, juggler, toy designer, teacher, camp director, ...



Sunday, September 8, 2013

NEW Character Challenge!

Welcome to the kick off for the Character Challenge! I am hosting this challenge as a tag on to Doodle Day with the theme of the doodle posts being characters - human characters. Remember, these are still doodles so don't spend a lot of time trying to turn them into portfolio pieces, the idea is to spend some time figuring out how to make a 2 year old boy look like a toddler and not like a 7 year old or a 9 year old girl look like a 4th grader and not like a Kindergartener or a Middle School student. There are subtle differences to show in your character design that will help a character look the right age for the story that he or she is connected to.

Here's how the challenge will work -

On Monday (tomorrow), Wednesday, and Friday of this week and next week, I will post the character prompt for a specific age group (which I will share here) along with tips on how to create characters that look that age. On Tuesdays and Thursdays - I will post other tips for character design (eyes, noses, mouths, body shapes, ...) but these are not additional prompts. You will get 2 days to work on each age group and then on Sundays, you can work on whatever characters you want or take a day off. Below is the list of prompts and the days they will be posted. Now that you see this list, you theoretically don't need to return here but I will post about each age group and share tips from well known character designers about how to create characters who are specific to this age. Keep your drawings loose and try not to get hung up on any one design. Create a page or more of loose sketches of characters while giving attention to the details of body shape and proportion that will make him or her look that age.

Monday, Sept 9: 2-4 year olds
Wednesday, Sept 11: 5-8 year olds
Friday, Sept 13: 9-12 year olds
Monday, Sept 16: 13-17 year olds
Wednesday, Sept 18: 18-25 year olds
Friday, Sept 20: 26-40 year olds

For today's doodle exercise, think about and sketch some head shapes. Yes, you can make a bunch of circles but think outside the circle and look at the people in the grocery store, on TV, in your own house. Not everyone's head is circular - draw some ovals, draw some squares, draw some eggs. Christopher heart has the page (shown below) at the start of his HUMUNGOUS BOOK OF CARTOONING. Notice that he points out 9 different head shapes. In the following pages of his book, he explains that stocky characters are shown with no neck, evil characters have a light bulb shaped head with the narrow side being the mouth and chin (go ahead, try to doodle something cute with a light bulb shaped head).

For today, all I am asking you to do is play with shapes for heads - round, narrow, oval, square, light bulb, etc...

Here is the page from Christopher Hart's HUMUNGOUS BOOK OF CARTOONING:

 
After playing with different shapes for heads, you can add some sketch guildelines for placement of the facial features. Don't worry about he features yet. The placement of these lines will make your character's head look three dimensional. The center lines helps give reference for where the nose will be. The horizontal line can be placed low or high depending on where your character is looking. Many characters in picture books, comics, and cartoons look flat (on purpose) so if you want your characters to look flat - don't worry about these lines.


 
When you are done sketching - you are welcome to post your doodles on the Doodle Day page on Facebook. If you haven't joined it yet - go ahead and join! There are over a hundred doodlers there already. Not on Facebook? No problem! If you want to share your character doodles (which you don't have to do), go ahead and post them on your own blog and share the link in the comments on this blog.
 
Have fun!
 
Don't forget to tell friends about this challenge!
 


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